Germany is shutting down its coal industry for good, so far without sacking a single worker

Deep underground in Germany's Ruhr valley, Uwe Seeger plunges a drill into the black earth just as thousands of coal miners in this region have done before him.

A wind turbine with smoke stacks in the background.

Germany has struck a deal to retire its remaining brown coal mines and power plants.(Reuters: Hannibal Hanschke)

Deep underground in Germany's Ruhr valley, Uwe Seeger plunges a drill into the black earth just as thousands of coal miners in this region have done before him.

"My grandpa did it like this, we used it like this to destroy the big stones," he tells Foreign Correspondent.

Black coal mines like this one in Essen, which opened its first shaft in 1875, once fired the furnaces that made Germany the economic powerhouse of Europe.

But this is no longer a working mine — it's a museum, set up by Mr Seeger and some other former miners to show tourists how life once was in Germany's western industrial heartland.

That's because Germany shut down its last black coal mine in 2018.

Miners were offered a new job or an early retirement and a centuries-old way of life came to a sudden end.

But Germany is not looking back. A nation that built its fortunes on coal has decided the fossil fuel's days are numbered.

As Australia looks to expand coal exports and build new mines, like Adani's proposed Carmichael project, Europe's biggest economy is phasing out its entire coal industry for good.

Read the full article by Eric Campbell published in ABC NEWS 20th February 2020


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  • Hunter Renewal
    published this page in News 2020-05-20 10:34:18 +1000